Originally published on Monday, January 21, 2013
Girls, 6 p.m.
• Victoria East (15-9, 7-1) at Victoria West (16-13, 1-7)
Boys, 7: 30 p.m.
• Victoria East (12-13, 2-4) at Victoria West (14-11, 4-2)
District 30-4A Boys Standings
Victoria West 4-2
Victoria East 2-4
*Calhoun and Beeville currently hold tiebreakers.
After scoring a combined six points in the first quarter of their last encounter, players and coaches from Victoria West and Victoria East were asked a simple question ahead of Tuesday's rivalry renewal.
Was it bad basketball, good defense or a combination of the two?
"It was good defense," said Victoria West guard Kris Headley. "We were (struggling) on offense. We came with the defense."
West (14-11, 4-2) beat East 34-31 in overtime to begin District 30-4A play last December.
The game was tied at 27 after 32 minutes and the schools combined for one field goal in overtime.
Most super subs provide instant offense; however, that is not Headley's role for the Warriors.
"I'm a defensive specialist. That's what coach told me," said the senior for a West team that has allowed 41.6 points per game in district play. "I like it. No one has ever told me I'm a defensive specialist, so I take it as a compliment that my defense is lockup."
West was scoreless in the final 5:32 of regulation. However, the Warriors allowed only five points over that stretch.
In that Dec. 18 game, East's Jalen Wilson jumpstarted the Titans comeback at the end of regulation with a steal and active defense.
When asked the same question as Headley, the senior point guard said it was bad defense that led to his team losing the district opener.
"We thought we were going to go in there and blow them out," Wilson said Monday. "They wound up coming out harder than we did."
East is currently tied for fifth in its district with a 12-13 overall record and 2-4 district record. If the Titants are going to get back into the district race, Wilson said his team must play harder and be relentless from tip off.
West leads the overall series 4-2.
Ironically, East head coach John Grammer said that will be the record his team needs in the second round of district play to advance to the playoffs for the third straight season.
"I don't think with this game I have to build it up any," Grammer said. "It's already built up so much in their minds. With a game like this I have to downplay it some. They get too hyped, and they get too nervous and they play tight."
Victoria West, Tuloso-Midway, Victoria East and Beeville are all within two games of each other in the district race. Grammer said his team cannot afford to lose a potential tiebreaker with any of those schools.
East's head coach said a combination of good defense combined with missed shots, ineffectiveness and turnovers on the offensive end led to the low-scoring meeting in December.
"If our goal is to make the playoffs, we really need to win," Grammer said. "We are basically going to have to go 4-2 in the second round. It's going to be difficult if we lose two times to any team to get in, especially the teams that are vying for (the final two spots.) .If we lose twice to West, then we don't have the tiebreaker, so that really puts us in a bind. It's kind of like football."
In October, East won a shootout over the Warriors in football. That loss kept West at home for the playoffs despite having a superior overall record.
Headley, a former football player, is well aware of the recent past. He knows a win would keep the Warriors within striking distance of the district leaders - as well as severely dent the Titans' chances for the playoffs.
"We have to come with our 'A' game or go home," Headley said. "Like coach (Pat Erskine) says 'Play hard, or go home.'"